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Finger Fracture

A fracture is a broken bone. The bone may be only cracked, or it may be broken into two or more pieces. Each finger has three bones, the proximal (nearest the knuckle), middle, and distal (fingertip) phalanges. Joints are formed where the ends of the bones meet, to allow for finger movement. Fractures can occur at any point along the finger and may or may not involve a joint.

The main cause of a broken finger is trauma. The finger sustains a direct injury, whether it has been crushed, hit or jammed. Sometimes a fracture can occur when the finger is forcibly twisted and pulled. Very occasionally, a tumor or cyst can weaken the bone enough for it to break.

  • Pain, severe at time of injury
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • The finger may look deformed
  • Inability to move the finger without pain
  • Diagnosis:
    If you suspect you have a fractured finger you should seek medical attention. Failure to get proper medical attention can result in long-term problems with pain and stiffness in your hand.

    X-rays are normally used to diagnose a finger fracture as they can show the exact location and severity of the break.

    Before your medical appointment you can help to reduce swelling and pain by
  • applying ice, crushed in a bag and wrapped in a towel, to the finger for as long as is comfortable
  • keeping the finger elevated when possible. Using a sling will help and, when sitting or lying down, prop your hand up on a pile of cushions or pillows.
  • taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve).
  • Your doctor will recommend the best treatment for your fracture. Depending on the severity of the fracture, recommended treatment may involve exercising the finger immediately, or wearing a splint or cast on the finger to provide support and limit movement to allow the bone to start healing. In some cases, surgery may be needed to realign the bone pieces and hold them in position during healing.

    When the time is right, usually after wearing a splint is no longer necessary, performing rehabilitation exercises will restore mobility to the finger joint.

    Passive Range of Motion:
    With your good hand, gently bend your injured finger and hold for 5 seconds. Gently straighten it and hold for 5 seconds. Do 10 times, 3-5 times a day.
    With your thumb and injured finger, pick up various small objects like coins, buttons or pins. Do this exercise often.
    Finger Extension:
    Place the palm of your injured hand flat on a table, with your fingers straight. In turn, lift each finger straight up, holding for 5 seconds before lowering. Do 10 times, 3-5 times a day.
    Grip Strength:
    Squeeze a soft rubber ball and hold the squeeze for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times for 1 set. Do 2 sets, 3-5 times a day.

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